August 5, 2013 § 7 Comments
This week I am going to taking a little break. But before I go, here’s a look at the chocolate cake I made for my husband’s birthday. I asked him if he wanted a layered cake; or perhaps something with raspberries or some other berry. But he said, “I just want chocolate.”
So here it is. I’ll be back later this week with an exciting post!
I didn’t have any good quality cream on hand so I made the chocolate ganache without cream, using a combination of milk and butter.
NUTTY CHOCOLATE GANACHE CAKE
- 100 g butter
- 200 g castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100 g flour + a little more to dust the nuts
- 25 g cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 50 g finely chopped nuts (I used a combination of walnuts and almonds)
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and pale in colour.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each one is added.
- Next, add the flour mixture and the milk, alternately, starting and ending with flour, and whisking well after each addition. It should be flour-milk-flour-milk-flour.
- Dust the nuts with some flour and fold into the batter.
- Pour into a 9-inch round tin and bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool completely before taking out of the tin and icing it.
The Ganache, Without Cream
I found this recipe on nigella.com and it’s pretty awesome; yielding a glossy, creamy, rich ganache.
- 25 g butter
- 60 ml milk
- 100 g semi sweet chocolate
- Place the chocolate pieces/chips in a heatproof bowl.
- In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter till the butter melts into the milk.
- Pour this hot liquid over the chocolate chips and let stand for 2-3 minutes, preferably covered.
- Slowly work your whisk into the chocolate-milk mix till the chocolate dissolves and there are no lumps.
- Refrigerate, whisking every ten minutes till it reaches a spreadable consistency.
- Spread over the cooled cake, sprinkle some crumbled nuts on top and eat!
July 23, 2013 § 2 Comments
Remember yesterday when I said that I’m not Martha? Well, turns out I have an even longer way to go before I can decently frost/ice a cupcake. While cartoon characters and phancy fondant work can uplevel a cupcake to whimsical glory; some of us just may not be able to. But we still want to bake; and bake from the heart.
I fall into that category. And I think birthday treats, especially, should come from the heart. I also believe that toddlers who are crazy about Dora, Peppa the Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine will still eat a cupcake that is not adorned with their faces- as long as it is good!
That is what this cupcake is. Yummy. Gooey. Fun. From the heart. And sweet. Like a cupcake should be.
Nutella is awesome. I have not met anyone yet who dislikes it…honest to goodness! I can’t count the number of times I have eaten it straight out of the jar, or spread it on hot toast with a sprinkling of sea salt (trust me, it’s goood!)
Oh and I just love these. When I see them at an airport I HAVE to pick up a whole bunch of them, like my life depends on it!
Nutella is also a great tool to construct quick desserts- sandwich them between store-bought cookies and serve with ice cream for a last-minuter,or whip up a no-bake cheesecake with digestive biscuits and cream cheese, à la Nigella.
Nutella also bakes well. And the best part is, since it is already in semi-liquid state, you do not have to worry about things like melting chocolate (which also brings the add-on worry of whether the chocolate will seize up, coagulate or burn.)
I made a Nutella and marmalade cupcake once, just combining Nutella, flour, an egg, a tablespoon of marmalade and then baking the mixture. It tasted great, but it was a little dense- bordering on clumpy- not as moist as a cupcake should be. So here I added in butter, sugar and milk, and what I got was a moist, pleasant cupcake with an almost brownie-like top…not yet forming that gorgeous brownie skin, but firm enough to give a soft crunch
- 150 g Nutella
- 50 g butter
- 100 g castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150 g flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
NOTE: Before you begin baking, ensure that the Nutella, eggs, milk and butter are at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Line a cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
- In a bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the Nutella, sugar and butter until nicely combined. The sugar may not dissolve at this point; but that’s ok.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.
- Next, add the flour and milk alternately, whisking after each is added. You should start and end with flour. Using a sieve, add a little flour; then whisk. Pour in some milk; then whisk. It should be flour-milk-flour-milk-flour. (I’ve been following this method since I attended the Purple Foodie workshops, and trust me, it will give you a really moist crumb!)
- Once the batter has come together, pour into cupcake molds. Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, slather on some Nutella!
Oh, and Nutella lovers- I so want to go here!
June 27, 2013 § 5 Comments
As I write this, I am enjoying my mango crisp-filled ramekin. Warm, sweet and crumbly, with a little fresh cream on top…and the rain is pounding outside my window, accompanied by a nip in the air and angry gusts of wind. (Angry enough that it knocked down my blue ceramic tealight holder, which is about 6 feet away from the window. Well, no one said the monsoon was a gentle pitter-patter. It’s a torrential downpour.)
Yes, right now there’s just this laptop, me eating fruit crisp in the rain, me in my lovely polka dotted pajamas. Aah, the romance of it all! The romance of indulgent fruit; the romance of knowing that there is one more dish of mango crisp in the fridge I can sneakily eat in the middle of the night like Nigella. In my pajamas.
I’ll stop being a floozy. But this is some seriously good crisp. Or crumble. Or streusel-topped fruit. Everyone has their own definition of what a crumble, crisp or cobbler is; I was planning on calling this a crumble; but since I was not adding oats, I stuck with crisp. Also because the topping is quite crisp.
I made a peach and mango crumble last year, using mostly digestive biscuits. But this version is way, way better. I was inspired by Daniela’s apple and grape streusel, and how a few ingredients could work up a yummy dessert. I also saw a recipe for a raw mango and oats crumble in the June issue of BBC Good Food India (my trusty companion!) and that’s when I decided to use ripe mangoes to create a sweet finish to my ‘celebrating mangoes’ week on the blog. After a little reading, which led me to better understand the intricacies of cobblers, crumbles and crisps, I settled on making a quick topping without any oats or cinnamon in it. I do like oats; but sometimes the chewy texture gets in the way of the buttery goodness of the flour, butter and sugar. (Plus I eat oatmeal for breakfast or an evening snack at least 3 times a week.)
This is an easy and quick dessert to make, and there is actually no cooking involved- just some chopping of mangoes and combining the flour, sugar, butter and almonds in a food processor or by hand. Assemble it, pop it in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes and voila! You’ve got yourself a pretty dessert that can hold it’s own at a phancy tea party.
Ideally, I would have liked to use a mixture of brown sugar and caster sugar; but I did not have any brown sugar or demerara sugar on hand. And I wanted to make this ASAP and could not wait to buy brown sugar
MANGO STREUSEL POTS/MANGO CRISP (Adapted from BBC Good Food India June 2013)
- 2 cups ripe mangoes, chopped (I used mangoes which were just ripe, not overly ripe. They should be firm.)
- 50 g butter
- 50 g plain flour
- 100 g castor sugar
- 60 g broken almonds (I used my nut grinder to break the almonds up into a rubble.)
- Pre-heat oven to 220 C and butter four ramekins and keep aside.
- Combine the butter, flour, sugar and almonds with your hands or in a food processor until evenly combined. (If you are using a food processor, then use whole almonds, not broken. I did this by hand.)
- Fill the bottom of the ramekins with the chopped mangoes, top with the streusel topping.
- Bake at 220 C for 10 minutes or until the top appears to be pale and crispy.
The mangoes soften and release their juices so it’s almost like biting into a warm pudding once you are past the crispy top. A little fresh cream makes it even better! And that’s the beauty of it: you require so little time and effort; yet by getting your floozy on and calling this dessert “mango streusel pots,” you can create a phancy illusion.